In reading up on labor’s efforts to increase their membership by doing away with secret-ballot elections, we happened upon an editorial in the Tracy Press, which covers the ag-heavy community southwest of Stockton, California. In the column, “Signing SB 180 is bad for business,” the editor argues:
If concerns over the high price of energy, the potential lack of water and federal raids against laborers[*] aren’t enough to send corporate agribusinesses packing to neighboring states or to Mexico, SB 180 might. It gets rid of secret-ballot union elections in the fields, orchards, vineyards and packing sheds in California.
We appreciate the point being made — It’s usually not one thing that discourages manufacturers, it’s the addition of one after another after another after another.
Indeed, the Tracy Press is talking about something we call structural costs, or fixed external costs, the unnecessary burdens that result from bad policies and regulations enacted at the state and federal level. Our 2006 cost study, “The Escalating Cost Crisis,” documented these extra costs — things like excessive civil litigation costs, expensive energy, mandated employee benefits, regulatory compliance — and found they amounted to a 31.7 percent cost disadvantage for manufacturers located in the United States compared to nine major competitors. For more information, go to the NAM’s cost study page.
* The priority issues for farm communities like Tracy are different than those of the manufacturing sector. The issue of federal raids on farmworkers does not come up much around here. In any case, the NAM supports enforcement of the law.
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